Duke in the NBA: Blue Devils continue to shine despite mixed team results

Former Blue Devil forward Jayson Tatum scored 37 points in a loss against the Atlanta Hawks Monday night.
Former Blue Devil forward Jayson Tatum scored 37 points in a loss against the Atlanta Hawks Monday night.

As the NBA regular season comes to an end, several former Blue Devils will look to make big contributions for their respective teams. The Blue Zone is here to break down the performances of a few alums:

Jayson Tatum remains a confident force for No. 1 Celtics

As the postseason draws near, many forces have been at work in Boston as the Celtics prematurely clinched the top spot in postseason play. Up until Boston’s unexpected fall to the Atlanta Hawks Monday, the team flew on a nine-game winning streak thanks to leaders like Jayson Tatum. Shooting 47.3% from the field and 37.9% from three, the St. Louis native has propelled the Celtics to a 50-plus win season. Despite the loss to the Hawks, Tatum’s production was nothing short of impressive. Boasting 37 points, racking up eight boards and adding five assists, the former Blue Devil made significant contributions in Boston’s effort to hold off the hungry Atlanta team. Tatum’s consistent success will be a key asset in the Celtics’ recovery as they prepare to enter the playoffs next month. 

Zion Williamson holds his own in the Big Easy 

After falling into fifth place in the West following their loss against Oklahoma City Tuesday night, the New Orleans Pelicans are looking to secure strong victories in the tight race to the playoffs. With fellow Duke alum Brandon Ingram facing a bone contusion knee injury, Zion Williamson is going solo in representing the Blue Devils. Collecting a team-leading 29 points and 10 assists, the 6-foot-6 forward lessened the production gap left by Ingram in his team's matchup against the Thunder. Despite the loss, Williamson once again proved himself to be a valuable asset on both offense and defense. As the Pelicans look forward to an electrifying matchup against the Bucks Thursday, they will lean on Williamson’s command of the court and scoring prowess to make up for Ingram's absence once again.

Kyrie Irving aids in Mavericks’ dominating offense 

With the help of Kyrie Irving’s electric shooting, the Dallas Mavericks decimated the Kings in their crucial matchup Tuesday night. Shooting 52.6% from the floor and 44.4% from behind the arc, the experienced guard contributed to an explosive lead as his momentum could not be contained. By the end of the night, Irving had racked up four threes and 24 points altogether. With the West Orange, N.J., native firing on all cylinders offensively, the Mavericks will hope to repeat the performance in their second matchup with Sacramento Friday night.

Marvin Bagley III shows great potential for Washington

The Washington Wizards have struggled significantly throughout much of the season. The team finds itself buried at the bottom of the Eastern Conference, largely because of lazy defense and lackluster offensive production. Among fellow Washington scoring leaders Kyle Kuzma and Jordan Poole, Marvin Bagley III remains a source of hope for desperate Wizards fans despite missing time due to a lower back injury. The Phoenix native averages 11.6 points per game, 6.1 rebounds and shoots 58.1% from the field. Although his shooting from 3-point distance needs some polishing, Bagley III’s potential could be useful for the struggling Wizards. In facing his former team — the Detroit Pistons — Friday evening, the 6-foot-10 forward will look to make a sizable contribution as the regular season winds down for Washington.   


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